The recent Baz Luhrmann Elvis biopic succeeds more than it fails. First and foremost, Austin Butler is very good, and he will likely get a Best Actor Oscar nomination. His only sin is not being Elvis, but nobody is or was. He does an excellent job of emulating him.
By contrast, Tom Hanks (or Luhrmann) made some choices that end up leaving Hanks as perhaps the weakest part of the movie. Believe it or not. Tom Hanks is a fantastic actor, and, like most people who grew up in the 80s and 90s, I’m a huge fan. But this felt like a bit of a misfire. More on that in a moment.
There are some other minor criticisms. In a movie about Elvis, you certainly don’t need to incorporate modern musical “takes” on his work. But, of course, that’s Luhrmann. Speaking of which, Luhrmann’s flashy, comic-book-esque visual style seems overused early on.
On the other hand, that style is used in part to summarize or abridge details, which makes sense. In watching this film, I realized that this is the first time in a long while that I’ve watched a movie and thought, “This really could have been a good, big-budget streaming series rather than a film.”